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blaming outside forces including al qaeda for the violence. bashar al assad dismissing any prospect of meeting with the rebel leaders. was anyone at all surprised that president assad ignored the scope and the root causes, if you will, of the uprising there? >> reporter: not entirely. we haven't seen a lot of bashar al assad in recent months. this was a big speech. he presented it in damascus in a crowded auditorium. he spoke for nearly an hour and really at the end of the speech probably isn't going to change much. he called -- we heard familiar refrains. he called the opposition terrorists and accused them of being made up mostly of al qaeda and made little mention of syrians taking arms against his government and countries in the region are funding and arming the opposition and says he won't negotiate until they stop funding them and went on to propose a new political initiative which would include eventually a new government, new constitution, national reconciliation but said that won't happen until the weapons are put down and these quote/unquote terrorists are no longer funded
are in the middle of winter. no blankets. it is a very grim picture for people. >> bashar al assad still in power, not going to step down. russia the key player there. that is just one outside influence. we have the united states and the u.k. wanting him to step aside. you have things happening to the south and to the coast. what sort of environment are we looking at in terms of what assad might do next? >> it is extremely chaotic and unpredictable. because of the internationalization, much has been said this is part of war. with the money coming into it and the weapons, money from the gulf country to the rebels. it is a regional conflict. the fighting is taking place and has regional complications. >> chemical weapons. i believe his statement is he said earlier he is alluding to the chemical weapons and said it could involve u.s. troops saying you have to keep the possibility that if there is a peaceful transition and international organizations get involved that they might ask for assistance in that situation. so defense secretary paneta discussing troops and the weapons. >> for u.s. and israel
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